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Anne: cast of ITV drama about Hillsborough, including Maxine Peake as Anne Williams - and is it a true story?

 The four-part drama is based on the true story of Anne Williams, who lost her 15-year-old son Kevin in the 1989 disaster

ITV will start the New Year with a compelling true-story drama starring Maxine Peake as a mother who battles for answers following

the Hillsborough disaster of 1989.

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The four-part series tells the story of Anne Williams, a mourning mother who sent her 15-year-old son off to the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final, for him never to return home.

In what is sure to be an emotional, gripping and honest depiction of what tens of families experienced, Peake is joined by a cast of stunning British acting talent.

So, who stars in the series and what is the real story behind Anne Williams’ fight for justice? This is what you need to know.

Anne cast

Maxine Peake as Anne Williams

Maxine Peake stars in the leading role as Anne Williams

Screen and theatre actress Peake is best known for her roles as Twinkle in the BBC One sitcom Dinnerladies, Veronica Ball in Shameless, Martha Costello in the BBC’s Silk, and Grace Middleton in the BBC One drama The Village.

For Anne, she plays the lead role of a mourning mother who uses her own funds to campaign for a second medical review of her son’s death, as well as to launch an independent inquiry into police failing on the day of the Hillsborough disaster.

Anne Williams was a leading member of the Hillsborough family support group, who with the help of five other families, did not give up on their quest for reviews of the medical ‘accidental death’ verdict.

Anne Williams outside court in 2012, following the quashing of an ‘accidental death’ verdict in the Hillsborough case

Her son, Kevin, was among the 96 victims who died on 15 April 1989, and for two decades she lobbied for a fresh inquest and became a driving force for the eventual inquiry and report into the deaths.

Across the four episodes, Peake plays Anne from 1989 to 2013, when Anne Williams sadly passed away from cancer.

Stephen Walters as Steve Williams

Outlander star Stephen Walters joins the cast of Anne as Kevin’s step-dad and Anne’s husband, Steve.

Steve had been unsure of allowing Kevin to attend the Hillsborough game in Sheffield, someway away from his hometown of Formby, Merseyside.

Walters supports Peake in the series, as she pursues justice for the victims of Hillsborough.

Campbell Wallace as Kevin Williams

Wallace plays the role of 15-year-old Kevin in the series, though he only starts in episode one.

Wallace is a fairly new actor, with Anne being one of only a few titles the actor is credited to.

A family handout of Kevin Williams, aged 15 when he attended Hillsborough and died of his injuries

Rob Jarvis and Polly Highton as John and Teresa Glover

Emmerdale actor and star of BBC series ‘Hustle’ Rob Jarvis will feature in the series as a grieving father who campaigns alongside Anne (Peake) and his wife.

Polly Highton and Rob Jarvis will play married couple, Joe and Teresa Glover

Polly Highton will take on the role of Teresa Glover, John’s wife who is mourning the loss of their son, Ian.

The true story of John and Teresa Glover is of a tight-knit couple who lost their son that day, while their other son survived the disaster.

Ian, 20, was killed at Hillsborough and his older brother Joe, 22, survived it but was traumatised by the incident and sadly died after being crushed in a work accident 10 years later.

Hillsborough victim Ian and his brother XX, aged 20 and 22 at the time of the tragedy

John and Teresa would go on to be pivotal in the launch of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) in 1998.

Claire Calbraith as legal researcher Sheila Coleman

Calbraith is a well known British actress, starring in several ITV hit shows, from Verto Unforgotten, Home Fires and Little Boy Blue. She has also featured in BBC’s Baptiste.

Baptiste’s Clare Calbraith plays legal researcher Sheila

In Anne, she stars as Sheila Coleman, a legal researcher who joined the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and played a vital role in the eventual inquest into the deaths of the 96 Hillsborough victims.

The real Sheila Coleman, a founding member of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign

In 2016, she was honoured by the Open University of Dublin for her contribution to public service.

Mathew McNulty as Andy Burnham

Misfits and Deadwater Fell actor Matthew McNulty will star as Andy Burnham, the then Labour MP who led fresh calls for an independent inquiry.

McNulty takes on the role of Andy Burnham, pictured at the 25th Anniversary of Hillsborough

McNulty has also starred in Sky Atlantic’s Domina and ITV’s The Bay.

Andy Burnham will feature in episodes three and four of the series, as the HJC lobby for a fresh inquiry.

The Leigh MP went on to support the victims’ families and this ultimately led to a fresh inquiry which found multiple police failings at the Sheffield stadium on 15 April 1989.

Brunham described the police’s initial inquiry and failure to accept responsibility as “a 27 year cover up” when the independent review was concluded in 2016.

When is Anne on TV?

Anne begins on ITV at 9pm on 2 January 2022 and runs for four consecutive nights.

All episodes will also be available on the ITV Hub, shortly after broadcast.